Thank you rich people, for paying your taxes.

We have a problem in this country, and no one seems to know how to solve it. The rich don’t want to pay their taxes, and thus essential and even life saving programs suffer from lack of funding. I can’t say I blame the rich mind you. The libertarian side of me recognizes that it might not be so fair that such a small sect of society has to pony up for so much of what society needs. Then the human in me steps in and says, it doesn’t matter if it’s fair or not – it’s not fair that so many people in this country can’t afford healthcare, or that public schools, are so terrible due to budget cuts. Still – I go back to the fact that if I were rich, if money I worked hard for was taxed at such a high rate, I would be a little miffed. Heck, I get miffed by looking at my measly salary and seeing all that the government takes from me on a regular basis! It makes me wonder if there’s a better way. While said better way will probably never be found, there is something we can do. We can say thank you.

Before I go on – I want to make sure to say that the rich aren’t the only ones being taxed unfairly. Taxes pretty much suck all across the board, and we all pay a lot more than we should. Still, the top 1 percent of income earners pay about 50 percent of the annual income tax revenue. Compare that with the bottom 80 percent (which most of us are in). We pay about 15 percent. That’s quite a difference. And again, I hate my tax rate – it’s too high. So before I say thanks to the rich, I’ll say thank you to every taxpayer in America. But especially a big thanks to the rich.

Thank You indeed.

Seriously, thank you rich people who don’t dodge every tax you can. You make our country great. You save lives. You provide healthcare to children. You give people the chance to better themselves. You give veterans services they need. I realize that some of you don’t see the value in some of the services provided, but that’s just how this country works. I for one don’t really see the value in spending so much on, say, building a new ship for the Navy or the latest superweapon. Still, some people do. But I digress. My point being is that your sacrifice is serving the greater good. You should be proud of this absolutely patriotic thing you’re doing. It helps so many of your fellow Americans.

It’s personally helped me. I’m disabled, and relied on social security for four years of my life. Your investment in me made me have a better life. Without that money, I would not have been able to attend college. There, I not only got a degree, but also the confidence in knowing how valuable my skills are to others. I became a contributing member of society because of you. Besides, if you add up all the money the government gave me in those four years (including pell grants) and compared it to the amount of federal taxes I’ve given the government, the government has a net gain. Yes, not everyone is willing to better themselves, and sure, there’s a few bad apples that want to game the system – but I’m willing to bet that most of us want to be self sufficient. Most of us want to earn our own way.

But why should we have to say thank you?

Now that I’ve said thank you, both collectively and personally, I want to spend some time talking about why we should say thank you. Honestly, it’s just courtesy for one thing. We all learned to say please and thank you in Kindergarten for little things. We say thank you to those who serve in the military. So why wouldn’t we say thank you to those who pay the majority of the collective bills (including the military’s bills)? Going beyond that, there’s the old adage: you get more flies with honey than with vinegar. While this may or may not be true in the literal sense, it is true in the metaphorical sense. People are more likely to react positively if you present a positive attitude and demeanor yourself. Likewise, ordering and bossing people around – even for the right thing to do (like funding schools, hospitals, etcetera) – is going to provide a more negative response. Thirdly, it’s about “melting Pharaoh’s heart.” Ok, sure, a lot of rich people are greedy (close your ears and eyes rich people – or maybe this won’t work). But maybe, just maybe, if we make them feel good about what they’re doing, they’ll be a little more willing to put aside their greed. We are all human, and unless you’re a psychopath, I believe we all want to do the right thing despite our carnal desires and nature.

Finally, it will stroke their egos. money and power are driving forces to the financially successful, but so is self image. If this helps their self image, perhaps they’ll be more willing to pay their taxes. Perhaps it could even become a status thing. I realize I’m an idealist here, but imagine a world where instead of people like Donald Trump hiding their tax returns, they proudly display them to all who asks. Heck, maybe we should take a page from the military, and give medals to people who pay x amount of taxes. Maybe even have certain levels – if you pay 45 percent of your income in taxes, you get a green medal. If you pay 50 percent, you get a silver one. And so on. Maybe we even denote the 100 or so people who pay the most taxes. Imagine some rich guy going about his daily routine, proudly displaying a medal saying he paid more taxes than anyone else. Like I said, I’m an idealist. But then again, it might work.

We seem to be fighting a losing battle as far as taxes goes. More and more burden is being shifted onto the middle class, and less and less being upon those who can afford it. The current administration doesn’t seem to care about social programs (or people in general), and congress is too ingrained in old ways to do anything about it. We have a fight on our hands, and in some cases it’s a life and death struggle. People should not have to worry about medical expenses. People deserve to be able to better themselves by going to school. People deserve the right, the pursuit of happiness so promised us in the Declaration of Independence. We need to change our strategies if we actually want to get anything done. I realize saying “Thank you for putting your greed aside and doing the right thing” doesn’t seem like something we should have to do, but if it helps – what harm will it do? Besides, as I said before, it is the polite thing to do. So, thank you rich people. Thank you for paying your taxes. Please continue doing so. Please help us in our own pursuit of happiness. I realize it’s a sacrifice, but your sacrifice is greatly appreciated and patriotic.